Homework Is a Waste of Time

homeworkNo, my son didn't hijack my computer and write that headline, it's true, according to researchers. A new study says that, with the exception of the last couple of years of high school, homework provides few, if any, benefits to students; it may even impede their learning.

So all of that time I spend trying to coerce my second grader to sit down and complete his assignments, and all the breath I expend trying to explain why homework is so important to his future is all a big waste? Yes, say Australian researchers who included 10,000 children in their study. They concluded that children could be better served spending that homework time doing something else more beneficial. They even went so far as to say that only students in senior high should do homework.

"There are other things kids want to do that are very valuable things for them to be doing," researcher Dr. Richard Walker told The Daily Telegraph. As CNN pointed out, you may want to hide this article from your children.

The theory with homework has usually been that children need time for self-directed learning -- an important skill for sure. Only very children in grade school and middle school self direct themselves when they do homework. Instead parents are usually sitting there right beside them, assisting and teaching them as well. I didn't believe this before my son started school and actually scoffed when people told me how much of my time his homework would take, but it's true. He's an excellent student, but his homework still requires me most nights. So if it's not self-directed learning they're acquiring, then why make them (and us) sit there?

I think there will always be some projects that are better done at home -- perhaps things like book reports or other research-based projects. But the daily worksheets and other regular activities could seemingly be worked better into the school day so that their time after school could be better spent on physical activity, reading for pleasure, and just plain old kid fun, which so many seem to have little time for today.

With American education falling so far behind much of the rest of the world, it's hard to argue that our students need to do less work. But as the saying goes, sometimes less is more. A good education for my children is one of my highest priorities in life, but if homework is a waste, then let's stop wasting valuable time.

Do you think homework is a waste of time?


Image via woodleywonderworks/Flickr


elementary school, in the news, homework


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MamiJ... MamiJaAyla

Some if not most H.W. is.  I don't mind them doing a few math problems or a couple of things but overall its too much. my first grader had 20 spelling words this wk including poisonous (which I had to look up).

Math... I remember it kind of helped me to do some at home b/c it kept it fresh and pointed out where I was messing up.

Overall though, its too much and the kids are basically just doing H.W. and there goes everything else. which sucks.

douxm... douxmusique

I think it teaches responsibility and prepares kids for college. So it may not make them smarter but it sets the habits.

tabby... tabbycat66

I  totally agree with no homework. By the time my kids get home from school its 345p, then they like to snack, either relax or go play outside. Then its dinnertime. Chores, Shower and then some time to spend with the family. Now where do you fit in an hour of homework? Ive noticed these days that kids dont even have notes or books or anything to bring home to remind them of what they just learned in shcool that day.That makes it even harder They are in school 7 hrs a day, thats enough. If anything id rather see the school year go longer with maybe a month off for summer.

Samantha Wortham

I agree that school should run longer instead and only have a month off or extra weeks off spread throughout the year.

kelli... kelli0585

But many are forgetting something very important: study habits FOR THE FUTURE.

For most kids, study habits don't magically come in high school. This habit is a discipline that can take years to instill. I've learned this the hard way, both personally and with other students I have worked with. A child that does not develop these study habits (or aren't encouraged to do so) from at least higher elementary to middle school tend to have a hard time developing them fresh in high school.

So while the content may seem a bit redundant and non-beneficial, the very practice of this habit of at home study can greatly influence a student's work ethic in the future. This skill is one of the few things that I do believe should start early. Think of it as an investment.

Having said that, the homework doesn't need to last an hour. 15 minutes to half an hour is more than adequate for a child.

Mrscj... Mrscjones

How are you expecting kids who never did homework to suddenly do it in high school. My son's routine is he do the h.w. first since all it's doing is reminding him what he did in school already and I check it. If he got a problem wrong we talk it out and he come up with the answer. He feel he's smart because he can do it himself.

nonmember avatar T

I never did ANY homework (unless it was unavoidable) and I went to college, got a degree from a major university, and work a 100K/year job developing software, so this theory gets my vote. Waste of time.

TugBo... TugBoatMama

I find it beneficial for teaching my kids responsibilty. It can also serve to teach them that sometimes we all have to do things we don't consider to be fun, but can serve us well if we do them. I let my kids play and relax a little before we dive into homework and it seems to benefit them. I can't wholly agree that homework is a total waste. My oldest could barely keep up with his peers in reading and spelling. It was nightly homework that has caught him up to speed and now is actually about to pass his peers in those areas. Homework is benefitting my pre-schooler by helping him learn to properly hold a pencil, how to do nice, neat work and is basically helping to lay the ground work for what lies ahead. As much as I wish elementary school wasn't so damn hard these days, it is hard and its not likely to change.

missusmc missusmc

Maybe less homework for younger kids, but homework is a good practice to get into.  This study is basically saying that homework is not worthwhile for younger children because they are aimlessly doing it.  That's where we as parents come in.  I think study skills and discipline are so important to teach children, even at a young age.  These skills build as they get older, making them more successful in college or at any job they may have in life.  I understand the argument to let kids be kids, but at some point, those kids will be adults, and we are doing them a disservice by not encouraging them to be the best adults they can be.

nursemc nursemc

I don't mind my daughter having homework because it lets me be more involved in her education. I am able to see for myself where her skills are and help her where they may be lacking. I remember in junior high when I was taking algebra, I was trying to do my math homework in English class(I was done with my English assignment, not slacking) and nearly tearing my hair out because I didn't understand something. My English teacher sat with me and explained it in a different way than my math teacher and I had a total aha!moment. That taught me the value of different perspectives and teaching styles being good for students. That's not to say I haven't had plenty of screaming, crying "that's not how they told us to do it" moments followed with "well, your teacher is a fucking moron then!" moments.

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